With officials and students of Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management
On an exciting mission to visit 176 countries while covering her carbon footprint by planting one tree in every country she visits, Cassandra De Pecol, founder, explorer and producer of Expedition 196, was hosted by the iconic Galle Face Hotel while in Sri Lanka.
Keen to gain insight into the heritage of the country, The Galle Face Hotel provided her with just the right historical springboard to launch her travails in the island, driven by her inner yearning to experience cultures and environments around the world.
Promoting responsible tourism along the way, De Pecol hopes to inspire the youth and Millennial Generation in Sri Lanka to incorporate sustainable tourism within their respective ambits. Sri Lanka is one of the 196 countries she must visit in order to break the Guinness World Record. She is backed by the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism and Skal International, along with 12 sponsors including AIG and Air New Zealand, and a solid handful of supporters.
Since July of last year, De Pecol has been to 74 countries across six continents, addressing over 4,000 students and dignitaries. She is simultaneously volunteering for an organisation called Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, collecting water samples to test the world’s waterways for micro plastics. The dynamic adventurer is also filming an educational documentary geared towards high school and university students, so that her message can continue to reach the youth long after her Expedition has successfully been completed. She has plans of a universal project that will aim towards addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Her key to success has been keeping an open mind to new opportunities.
During her sojourn in Sri Lanka, she met tourism students, Minister of Tourism, Dignitaries and Skal Associates. She also embarked on an interesting journey, collecting footage from local people, asking them what their definition of ‘Kindness’. She plans to promote Sri Lanka in the US-based Hooplaha Good News media.
Cassandra De Pecol said, “The purpose of my visit to Sri Lanka is to inspire and educate the tourism students, plant the tree with the students and dignitaries to signify responsible tourism, and promote Sri Lanka in the international media on my end.” She belies that companies practicing sustainable tourism hold many advantages. By supporting organisations that follow sustainable/regenerative policies, the communities and economy will benefit because the core mission of organisations who practice sustainability is to give back to communities through job employment and increased infrastructure.
“By developing infrastructure centered on sustainable development, the company has the opportunity to lessen costs of energy output through use of solar, low flow shower systems, lessening water usage costs, using local products and produce that decreases transportation costs and emissions and so on,” she points out.
In the past, she has completed a survival challenge for Discovery Channel for a 21-day experiment to survive in the wilderness of Panama along with three teammates. “This was the best, worst experience of my entire life!” she says. “I learned a lot about myself and how I work with others. The experience itself was life changing and I do not regret the survival experience.” The self-starter even obtained a prestigious internship with Solimar International, funded by USAID, in the Bolivian Amazon for two months as a Sustainability/Marketing Advisor to small tour companies.
De Pecol has many accomplishments to her name despite her young age. She was invited to attend the IIPT World Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa, to meet with Naomi King (Martin Luther King Jr.’s sister-in-law), Nandi Mandela (Nelson Mandela’s Granddaughter) and Taleb Rifai, the UN Secretary General for Tourism. She also had her first TEDx Talk in front of students at a high school in Los Angeles. She has attended the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Madrid, Spain where she met with the King of Spain, Felipe VI, eventually launching Expedition 196 at the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon, organised by Author, Chris Guillebeau.